Archive for March, 2009

The Benefit of Twitter and Other Social Networks

This is a very difficult post for me. My dad died on March 10. It was very unexpected and in the course of 48 hours, he went from healthy to dead, shocking all of us.  I was with him in the hospital from nearly the beginning and, not knowing the final outcome of the ordeal, I thought about how I would communicate with friends and family to let them know what was happening.

Armed with my Blackberry, I decided that the best way to get the word out was to use Twitter feeding into the status of Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo. Most of our family around the country are now using Facebook, so this seemed to be the most logical place to convey the events that were to unfold.

My Twitter stream was as follows: I reversed the order so the earliest posts show first which is opposite of what is logged on Twitter.

getting ready to go to Columbia to see my Dad in the hospital1:55 PM Mar 8th from web

Dad is resting in the hospital. He’ll have a cardiac cath. procedure early in the morning to figure out what’s up with the chest pains.10:13 PM Mar 8th from web

In Columbia. Saw Dad at the hospital. He’s resting now and will have a cath procedure early tomorrow4:25 AM Mar 9th from txt

hurry up and wait no wonder healthcare costs are out of control8:30 AM Mar 9th from mobile web

Dad’s in the Cath Lab. should be done in 1 1/2 hours9:06 AM Mar 9th from mobile web

Dad will have bypass surgery today or tomorrow10:54 AM Mar 9th from mobile web

in ICU right now Dad is a little disoriented and wants to leave1:37 PM Mar 9th from mobile web

Dad is in surgery. Should be out in 3 – 4 hours3:41 PM Mar 9th from mobile web

dad is out of surgery with 4 bypasses and things seemingly went well8:03 PM Mar 9th from mobile web

saw Dad. He’s hooked up to all sorts of stuff and won’t be awake for many hours9:48 PM Mar 9th from mobile web

time to go to Mom & Dad’s for much needed rest9:49 PM Mar 9th from mobile web

finally a good nights sleep. Off to the hospital pretty soon to see Dad. I suspect he’s not conscious yet.8:45 AM Mar 10th from web

some problems with Dad. Double up your prayers. Will update asap9:50 AM Mar 10th from mobile web

Dad is fighting for his life. major issues with major organs. Keep praying!11:00 AM Mar 10th from mobile web

The oxygen level in Dad’s blood is very low likely causing the problems with other organs12:12 PM Mar 10th from mobile web

The docs are trying to fix this, but it is very critical right now12:13 PM Mar 10th from mobile web

my Dad just died. He was a wonderful husband, a great dad and the smartest guy I knew. I will miss him terribly1:32 PM Mar 10th from mobile web

James A. Huckaba, 1936 -2009 – PM Mar 11th from web

Dad’s Obituary PM Mar 11th from web


Friends and relatives were able to follow the updates as this real-life drama unfolded. I didn’t have to make hundreds of calls, people were able to make travel plans and the updates became somewhat riveting to many who were anxious for the newest update and hopeful of good news.  One of my friends back in Lenexa called it “surreal” to follow these events.  Relatives from many places around the country said they couldn’t wait to check for the next update. I compare it to “The Truman Show” where someone’s real life is played out in front of a television audience. The personal connection people gain from this interaction is significant.

Looking back, I used the tools that were readily available to me to reach an audience of people who really cared about my dad and our family and it worked!  With minimal effort on my part, the news was spread and I was able to focus my attention on Dad and his last hours alive. That…. of course is most important!

Citing “The Future of Broadband” from

Interesting article with some stats and thoughts regarding where broadband is headed. See The Future of Broadband – Building it Out,


Spurred by a new wave of Skype-linked families, Hulu-watching flash mobs, and HD-video downloaders, global internet traffic is likely to quadruple by 2012. That’s an internet 75 times larger than it was just five years ago. It will be generating 27 exabytes—nearly 7 billion DVDs worth—of data each month.


The numbers are mind boggling and the technical challenges immense. 



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